Riding the Tsunami

By Roza Riaikkenen
Published in the Australian Theosophical Society Newsletter, N85, April 2005

Nowadays, there are films and books, including the most famous of them, the Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which focus on aspects of Jesus Christ’s suffering or, what is more, on his supposed simple human frailties. Their authors omit the most important point of Christian history – his example of Ascension. Maybe, they don’t assume it as a possibility and necessity in the comfort of our modern social life. The question is – do we need our ascension in our own individual way in the individual circumstances of our lives?

At the end of 2004, right at the special time of Christmas, a huge earthquake shook the depths of the Earth beneath the Indian Ocean, and a tidal wave, or “tsunami”, devastated the shores of several southeast Asian countries. The lives and possessions of hundreds of thousands of people who were on the ocean shores at this particular time were swept away in an instant.

Among the tales of miraculous survivals, we heard the story of a surfer who was at sea, trying to “catch the wave” on his surfboard at the time the tsunami struck. He “caught the wave”, but this time it was the tsunami wave! He suddenly felt that the wave was lifting him to unexpected heights. It was frightening, but the surfer stayed firm. He didn’t become paralyzed with fear; he just concentrated on holding his position on the wave. After the ride of his life, the surfer found himself standing on his board on a highway a kilometer from the shore! The tsunami hasn’t harmed him in any way. It simply raised him up, carried inland and deposited gently when it retreated. Obviously, this was not his time to die, but rather his time of trial – and he was ready. His skills were intact, and his concentration allowed him to “ride the tsunami” – to do the ride of his life literally.

In association with this event, I remembered also the “tsunami” of the WW2 and the six million of Jews who perished at that time. After the Germans occupied Lithuania, my mother was locked up in the Kaunas ghetto for the Jews, together with me, a three-year-old child, and later on in a concentration camp on the border between Poland and Germany. She not only survived and managed to organize my rescue, but also saved one of her camp mates. It appeared that she also “rode the tsunami” of her own trial.

I don’t know what happened to the surfer after his experience of “riding the tsunami”, but I witnessed the result of the ascension of my mother’s spirit– the height of courage, wisdom and tolerance she had achieved in her life. I also saw it in some other people who went through the unusual conditions and trials in their lives with dignity and concentration on their main task at that time. Such experiences usually provide people with awareness of where and how the “tsunamis” begin, and how should they meet their challenges.

We can never predict when we will be given the opportunity of our personal ascent, which always comes together with a question – are we ready for it? Are we trained enough on the lesser “waves” of our everyday life to be able to “ride the tsunami” when it comes into our life? Are we aware of our ability to do this?

For this awareness, don’t we need confirming examples of ascent through trials and crucifixion which can be seen as a climax of the biggest trials possible? Can we then deny the Christ example of total Ascension into the higher spheres of Being? Don’t we desperately need such an example for encouragement amidst our trials, when we receive our chance of turning them into a step of our ascent?